In the mid twentieth century the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously asserted that games are indefinable; there are no common threads that link them all. ""Nonsense,"" said the sensible Bernard Suits: ""playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles."" The short book Suits wrote demonstrating precisely that is as playful as it is insightful, as stimulating as it is delightful. Through the jocular voice of Aesop's Grasshopper, a ""shiftless but thoughtful practitioner of applied entomology"", Suits not only argues that games can be meaningfully defined; he also suggests that playing games is a central part of the ideal of human existence and so games belong at the heart of any vision of Utopia.
This new edition of The Grasshopper includes illustrations from Frank Newfeld created for the book's original publication, as well as an introduction by Thomas Hurka and a new appendix on the meaning of 'play.'
The late Bernard Suits was Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo. Thomas Hurka is a Canadian philosopher who serves as the Jackman Distinguished Chair in Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto.
Introduction by Thomas Hurka Preface Acknowledgments The Players One: Death of the Grasshopper Two: Disciples Three: Construction of a Definition Four: Triflers, Cheats, and Spoilsports Five: Taking the Long Way Home Six: Ivan and Abdul Seven: Games and Paradox Eight: Mountain Climbing Nine: Reverse English Ten: The Remarkable Career of Porphyryo Sneak Eleven: The Case History of Bartholomew Drag Twelve: Open Games Thirteen: Amateurs, Professionals, and Games People Play Fourteen: Resurrection Fifteen: Resolution Appendix 1: The Fool on the Hill Appendix 2: Wittgenstein in the Meadow Appendix 3: Words on Play